Vertex Energy reports delayed startup of renewable diesel unit

By Erin Voegele | May 11, 2023

Vertex Energy Inc. on May 9 announced that startup of its renewable diesel production unit at its refinery in Mobile, Alabama, has been delayed following a failure in a feedstock pumping system. Startup activities are expected to resume during the second half of the month. Company officials discussed the renewable diesel project during a first quarter earnings call, held May 9.

James Rhame, chief operating officer at Vertex, said the renewable diesel unit achieved mechanical completion on March 31. During the process of unit startup sequencing, he said the project experienced a failure in the feedstock pumping system, which provides feedstock to the renewable diesel hydrocracker. Upon failure, he said the safety systems worked as designed and the team was able to bring down the unit in a safe and controlled manner, preventing additional impacts and preserving the catalyst and hydrocracker.

Rhame stressed that the event is isolated to the feed system, with no known impacts to the reactor or any other processing equipment. He said the renewable diesel units is currently safely parked and the company has a number of internal and external expert resources engaged to find the root cause of the failure, and repair and restart the system.

Vertex currently expects repairs to be compete before the end of May, after which the company plans to reinstall and resume the startup sequence of the renewable diesel unit, Rhame said.

Phase I of Vertex Energy’s renewable diesel project is expected to enable 8,000 barrels per day of production. A planned Phase II development will include the installation of additional hydrogen capacity, boosting nameplate capacity to 14,000 barrels per day.




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